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Thursday, November 3, 2011

U.S Army’s new soldier; A high-tech headless robot

PETMAN is connected to the Pentagon and to the U.S. Defense and Research Agency. It is developed by Boston Dynamics robot. Petman is 175 centimeters long and weighs 80 kilograms. U.S. robotics design and engineering firm Boston Dynamics has been working on it for the last 3 years. 

The high-tech hydraulic robot can move in when a male soldier is physically unable.Of course, the PETMAN could use prosthesis of its own, since it still doesn’t have a head. Even the Octavia robot developed for the Navy has a cherubic face built out of white plastic. The PETMAN’s remorseless flashing red light atop its shoulders is anything but soothing. Which points to another potential use for the robot: scaring the hell out of an enemy.


A military war of nerves against Iran: The US leads, Israel and UK go along

Rush of military news Wednesday, Nov. 2, is part of an orchestrated Western performance to convince Tehran that the US, Britain and Israel are on the verge of a military operation against its nuclear installations. Directed from Washington, it is meant to warn Iran that the play could become a reality show if it refuses to give up the drive for a nuclear weapon. President Barack Obama may then decide to strike Revolutionary Guards Corps targets, the bulwark of the Islamic regime, and its strategic infrastructure, thereby knocking over the key props holding up the regime of the ayatollahs.

Contributing to the menacing climate hanging over Iran were four headline events involving Israel – all on the same Wednesday: Israel conducted a successful test launch of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, Jericho 3, which foreign sources report is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead 7,000 kilometers.

After that, the IDF released photographs of Israeli Air Force squadron leaders reporting from Italian air base runways to the media on joint exercises they had conducted in long-range maneuvers with the Italian air force "and other NATO nations," to familiarize the IAF with NATO military tactics.

The inference was clear: The Israeli Air Force was strengthening its cooperation with Western allies in preparation for a NATO assault on Iran. The IAF also got a chance to study the lessons Western alliance air force tacticians had drawn from the eight-month Libyan operation which ended on Oct. 31.
Next, the IDF's Home Command announced a large-scale anti-missile exercise in central Israel starting Thursday morning, Nov. 3.

Finally, Defense Minister Ehud Barak left for an unscheduled trip to London shortly after a secret visit to Israel by the British chief of staff General Sir David Richards earlier this week as guest of Israel's top soldier Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.
If the British general was in Israel only this week, why was Barak is such a hurry to visit London?

The answer came from the British media, which reported as soon as he arrived that the Ministry of Defense in London had accelerated and upgraded its contingency planning for participation in a US-led assault on Iran. They carried an account of plans for deploying large naval units including submarines to the Persian Gulf.

The UK was reported to have asked Washington for permission to station its fighter-bombers on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia for launching bombing sorties against Iran.

This whirlwind of military activity was said to have been prompted by the approaching publication of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Iran report next Tuesday, Nov. 8 and the conclusion the nuclear watchdog had reached: Inside 12 months, Iran will have tucked all its nuclear and ballistic missile facilities away in deep underground tunnels where they will be invulnerable to attack.
A potential US-British strike to pre-empt this move would also be timed for the run-up to America's next presidential election in November 2012.

DEBKAfile's military sources report that if the US, Britain and other NATO nations, such as France, Italy and Germany, participate in the attack, Israel will not. Its army, air force and navy will defend the home front, be available to engage Iran's allies to prevent them from striking the assault forces from the rear, and act as a strategic reserve. The danger would come from Syria, the Lebanese Hizballah, and the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami in the Gaza Strip.

These contingency plans are subject to changes, especially if President Obama and other NATO allies decide after all against attacking Iran in the coming year. The hyperactivity will then subside and Israel will be thrown back on the dilemma of having to decide whether or not to conduct a lone military operation against Iran.

There is not much time for contemplation. Syria and Hizballah are reported by DEBKAfile's military sources to be in the throes of separate preparations for attacking Israel if their respective grips on power are shaken. For now, those sources rate the chances of Israel facing a military clash with Syria and/or Hizballah much higher than a NATO-Israeli showdown being mounted against Iran.


UK and U.S. 'draw up joint plan to attack Iran'

Iran nuclear programme

Iran has come sharply back into focus following the end of the Libya conflict.

And the unrest has been inflamed by sabre-rattling from top politicians in Israel.

President Obama said Iran's nuclear programme continues to pose a threat and that he and French president Nicolas Sarkozy want the international community to maintain pressure on the country to admit its intentions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is preparing to reveal intelligence on Iran's alleged nuclear arms experiments.

Aggressive stance: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been linked to assassinations on foreign soil and is pressing closer to building a nuclear bomb

Iran has consistently denied that it is trying to build nuclear weapons and insists the programme is for peaceful purposes.

The U.S., Britain and France want the IAEA to share its intelligence, but Russia and China are pressing for the report to be delayed or scrapped entirely.

Yesterday it was revealed that Tel Aviv had successfully test-fired a rocket capable of carrying a nuclear warhead which could strike Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak are reportedly agitating for a pre-emptive attack against the Islamic state.

The UK would be likely to agree to any U.S. decision to invade, even though the Ministry of Defence are stretched to breaking point by swingeing budget cuts and wars in Afghanistan and Libya.

An MoD spokesman said: ‘The British government believes that a dual track strategy of pressure and engagement is the best approach to address the threat from Iran’s nuclear programme and avoid regional conflict.

‘We want a negotiated solution – but all options should be kept on the table.’

A special unit at the MoD has been instructed to work out the UK's strategy if the Army should invade Iran.

War planners will look at potential deployments of Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles and RAF fighter jets armed with precision-guided Paveway IV and Brimstone bombs and missiles, surveillance planes and air-to-air refuelling.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2056873/Iran-attack-drawn-UK-US-Middle-East-tensions-rise.html#ixzz1ceQ13jZN

Police can Track, Intercept and Block Mobile Phones

British police have been using a covert surveillance system developed by a tech company which also provides equipment to the US secret service and authorities in around 40 other countries, a report published by The Guardian has revealed.

The technology mimics a mobile network cell tower and intercepts communications as well as the unique IDs from phones, and can even transmit a signal which will shut phones off remotely.

The transceiver is a portable device which fits inside a suitcase, it looks like a cell tower for mobile phones and can be wirelessly operated remotely by officers. It generates a signal which controls any number of mobile phones in a particular targeted area of up to 10 sq km.

Made by Datong plc in the UK, the hardware system was bought by the London Metropolitan police for £145,000 in 2008. The same company won a £750,000 order to supply tracking and location technology to the US defence sector in Feb 2010, and had $1.6 million in contracts with US government agencies up till 2009.

After gaining control the authorities can block phone calls, SMS messages, and access other phone data like unique IMSI, IMEI identity codes allowing authorities to keep a check on the movements of the phone user, without having to extract location data from the mobile phone carriers.

Besides this, the system can also effectively break down phone communications. This is very helpful during demonstrations, riots and in war zones where phones are often used as a medium to organise crowds as well as a trigger to explode devices.

Datong's website explains that its products enable law enforcement, military and security agencies to "gather early intelligence in order to identify and anticipate threat and illegal activity before it can be deployed."

Barrister Jonathan Lennon, a specialist in covert intelligence cases, said "if this technology now allows multiple tracking and intercept to take place at the same time, I would have thought that was not what parliament had in mind when it drafted Ripa [Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act]."

Read more: http://www.itproportal.com/2011/11/01/uk-uses-advanced-cell-phone-tehnology-surveillance/#ixzz1cePaWVqW

EU leaders scramble to defuse Greek debt ‘bomb’

An emergency meeting of European leaders to discuss Greece’s ongoing debt crisis was held in the French city of Cannes on Wednesday evening. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel summoned Greece’s George Papandreou to Cannes to provide clarity on his proposed referendum on the EU’s latest bailout deal, an unexpected move that took many by surprise.

The special gathering preceded the two-day G20 global economic summit, which will start in Cannes on Thursday. The meeting is expected to cover a wide array of issues, including reviving global growth, establishing new currency policies and helping developing countries expand their infrastructure. However, Greece looked set to overshadow the meeting’s agenda.

Last week, heads of European states and banks put together a deal to buttress Greece’s finances and slash much of its privately-held debt. But Papandreou stunned his partners in the 17-member Eurozone by calling a national referendum on the 130 billion-euro agreement on Monday. The announcement sent stock markets plummeting the next day.

FRANCE 24’s special correspondent Markus Karlsson said Cannes was buzzing with speculation over whether the EU and International Monetary Fund would hold back on more aid to Greece before its referendum. “Greece is supposed to run out of money in mid-November. No more bailout money from Europe and the IMF could hurt Athens,” Karlsson said.

IMF board sources told the AFP news agency on Wednesday that Greece would not receive an urgently needed 8 billion euro aid instalment this month until after a referendum. Creditors wanted to be sure that Athens would stick to its austerity programme, the sources said.

An additional mini-summit for some eurozone leaders on Thursday morning was called by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, his office said on Wednesday evening. The meeting, still on the sidelines of the G20, will bring together the leaders of Germany, Italy, Spain and France, but also representatives from the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the European Council.

In defense of the bailout deal

The crisis meeting on the eve of the G20 gathering was preceded and followed by carefully-worded declarations from Europe’s leaders. Before heading to southern France, Germany’s Merkel said she wanted last week’s bailout deal to be put into practice, and that leaders needed “clarity” from Athens on Wednesday night.

Euro Group head and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker had harsher words for his Greek counterpart. “One week ago we made a decision as a 17-member group, we will not accept that one person disassociates themselves from the decision taken by the 17,” Juncker announced.

Some speculation also revolved around the exact nature of the Greek referendum, with some calling for the popular vote to be held on euro membership. Athens tried to calm fears about the country abandonning the single currency. “"No, [membership] will not be the issue. It will be the bailout plan," said Greek government spokesman Angelos Tolkas, according to the Reuters news agency.

In Cannes, IMF chief Christine Lagarde also urged Europe to stick to the bailout plan despite the announcement of the referendum.

Lagarde told reporters after meetings with Sarkozy and Merkel on Wednesday that what mattered was "the resilience and the determination of the European partners to take the matter forward to implement the agreement.”
France 24

Israeli missile test, air drill heat up talk of attack on Iran

A smoke trail from a missile Israel test-fired Wednesday is seen from Yavne, Israel. The missile reportedly can carry an atomic warhead and hit Iran, and the launch has increased speculation that Israel is planning a pre-emptive strike. (Associated Press)

JERUSALEM — Israeli defense officials on Wednesday announced the successful test-firing of a new ballistic missile and a recent air force exercise that included refueling for long-range flights, amid growing talk about an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Officials said Wednesday’s missile test and last week’s air force exercise in Sardinia were planned long ago and had nothing to do with recent media speculation about an attack on the Islamic republic’s atomic sites.

But the announcements - and foreign reports that the new missile can carry an atomic warhead and hit Iran - highlight the Israeli government’s debate over the Islamic republic, which has emerged into public view in recent days.

The Ha'aretz newspaper reported Tuesday that Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu has yet to muster the majority of his inner Cabinet to support a pre-emptive attack on Iran.

The newspaper said he and Defense Minister Ehud Barak had persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who initially opposed such an attack, to support it.

Four Cabinet ministers oppose an attack. They include Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, a former chief of staff and a political hard-liner whose objections carry particular weight, the newspaper reported.

Mr. Ya’alon reportedly maintains that the U.S. should take the lead in any military move against Iran and that a unilateral Israeli attack should be a last resort.

Last week, Interior Minister Eli Yishai told activists in his religious Shas Party that Israel is weighing a “possible action” that is keeping him awake at night. Retaliation for that action, Mr. Yishai said, could result in tens of thousands of rockets and missiles fired by Iran’s allies -Hezbollah, Hamas and possibly Syria - as well as Iran itself.

Mr. Netanyahu last week called on the patron of the Shas Party, RabbiOvadia Yosef, reportedly to persuade him to support an attack.

Addressing the Knesset this week, Mr. Netanyahu said a nuclear Iranwould be a grave threat to the region, the world “and, of course, a grave threat to us.”

Mr. Barak, the defense minister, said: “We’re not hiding our thoughts. We have to act in every way possible, and no options should be taken off the table.”

Public speculation about a strike on Iran is unusual for Israel, which has cloaked its past military moves in a veil of secrecy. No public talk preceded Israel’s 1981 airstrike on Iraq’s nuclear reactor or its 2007 strike on a suspected atomic facility in Syria.

By contrast, nearly every Israeli newspaper in recent weeks has carried reports by its military correspondents suggesting that Mr. Netanyahuand Mr. Barak are pushing for an attack on Iran.

This has given rise to speculation that Israel’s leaders are trying to persuade the international community to impose more sanctions on Iranto forestall a unilateral Israeli attack.

Meanwhile, the British daily newspaper the Guardian reported Wednesday that Britain’s armed forces are preparing contingency plans to support a U.S. attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Washington Times

Nicolas Sarkozy tells Greece: If you don't stick to the rules, leave the eurozone

The Greek prime minister announced the decision in Cannes after Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy gave him an ultimatum that Greece had to “abide by the rules” of the Brussels bail-out agreement – “or leave the eurozone”.

Mr Papandreou said that that “being part of the eurozone means having many rights and also obligations”. He said that the debt crisis deal agreed in Brussels a week ago would be “difficult” for Greece and while he “hoped for a yes vote” he wanted the “Greek people to speak”.

He added: "I believe in benefits for growth, lowering our burden of debt, a strong package of support for the next few years. We can put our house in order and make a viable economy. It is important that the Greek people make decisions on important developments. They are, I believe, mature and wise enough to make this decision.

"We're very proud to be part of the eurozone. But this comes with obligations and it is crucial we show the world we can live up to those obligations.

"We could hold the referndum on December 4. A positive decision by the Greek people is not only positive for Greece but for Europe. The Greek people want us to be in eurozone - I want them to speak and they will speak soon>"

Mr Sarkozy said that European leaders were powerless to stop Greece holding a referendum but he said the bail-out agreement was conditional “according to certain rules”. He said it was “up to them whether they accept the rules or not”.

MS Merkel added that they would "not not abandon the principles of democracy. We cannot put at stake the great work of the unification of the euro."

"The referendum is a question of whether Greece wants to be in eurozone with the euro currency - that is the issue," she said.

The German Chancellor and French President, who summoned Mr Papandreou to crisis talks ahead of the G20 meeting in Cannes that starts on Thursday, to tell him that the debt restructuring and austerity measures agreed a week ago were not negotiable. The leaders threatened to withhold €8bn (£6.9bn) of international aid from Greece until Athens accepted the terms.

Mr Papandreou’s refusal to bow to their pressure is likely to rattled global markets.

Hours before the Cannes talks, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) was forced to pull an auction to raise €3bn of debt because investors felt uncertain about the terms. It was an inauspicious start for the vital bail-out fund which is supposed to be capable of raising up to €1trillion.

The Italian cabinet held an emergency meeting in a bid to agree economic reforms which Silvio Berlusconi promised as part of the Brussels deal. As the cost of insuring Italian debt against default remained at record highs of 6.1pc, Giorgio Napolitano, the Italian president, appeared to threatened to bring down the government if the reforms were not agreed. Ignazio Visco, the new head of the Bank of Italy, urged Mr Berlusconi to mee the demands. He said it was “necessary to proceed resolutely” in order to achieve “the lasting reduction of sovereign risk and preserve the stability of the financial system”.

Mr Sarkozy had a “working dinner” in Cannes with President Hu Jintao as part of his on-going efforts to attract Chinese investment in eurozone debt.

Meanwhile, rumours swept the markets that France could lose its AAA credit rating after economic data revealed that the eurozone economies are stagnating.

Even so global stockmarkets were calmer following the rout on Tuesday. The Stoxx Europe 600 clawed up 0.9pc, in Germany the DAX gained 2.3pc, in France the CAC rose 1.4pc and in London the FTSE 100 added 1.2pc.

Francois Fillon, the French prime minister, said: “Europe cannot be kept waiting for weeks for the outcome of the referendum. The Greeks must say, rapidly and unambiguously, whether or not they will choose to remain in the eurozone.”
The Telegraph

Jim Rogers forecast.....

Oakland Occupied video: Flashbangs & tear gas at general strike

15 Trillion Dollars In Debt, 45 Million Americans On Food Stamps And Zero Solutions On The Horizon

How does a country end up 15 trillion dollars in debt?  30 years ago, we were just a little over a trillion dollars in debt.  How in the world do supposedly rational people living in "the greatest nation on earth" allow themselves to commit national financial suicide by allowing government debt to explode like that?  It almost seems like there should be some sort of official ceremony in Washington D.C. to commemorate this achievement.  It really takes something special to be able to roll up 15 trilliondollars of debt.  To get to this level, we really had to indulge in some wild spending.  For example, did you know that the U.S. national debt grows by more than 2 million dollars every single minute?  All of this debt has fueled an unprecedented boom of prosperity for the last 30 years, but now that prosperity is drying up.  Today, there are over 45 million Americans that are on food stamps.  America is being deindustrialized at a blinding pace and there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.  Poverty is exploding all over the nation, and millions of families have lost their homes to foreclosure.  Unfortunately, there are zero solutions on the horizon.  The leaders of both major political parties seem even more clueless right now than in past years.  We really could use some hope, but hope is in very short supply.
When evaluating the health of America's economy, it is important not to look at the short-term numbers.  Rather, the key is to look at the long-term trends and the balance sheet numbers.
For example, if a mother and a father gave their teenage kids a bunch of credit cards and told them to go out and buy whatever they wanted, that would create a lot of "economic activity", but it would also send that family to the poorhouse really quickly.
Well, we have basically done the same thing as a nation.  We are drowning in debt, and all of this debt is going to destroy us financially.
Unfortunately, the federal government continues to spend money as if there was no tomorrow.  Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP.  Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.
When you are running up a credit card, it can be a lot of fun and it can seem like there aren't any consequences.
But when it comes to debt, there are always consequences.  The following is what former Republican Senator Alan Simpson (of the Simpson-Bowles Commission) recently had to say about the horrific debt crisis we are currently facing....
"It's very simple. If you spend more than you earn, you lose your butt"
In the United States, we love to have the government spend money on all sorts of things, but we never want to pay for it.
So the debt just keeps piling up higher and higher.
A lot of Republicans say that spending on social programs has gotten out of control.  A lot of Democrats say that spending on the military has gotten out of control.
They are both right.  As I have written about previously, the U.S. military accounts for close to half of all the military spending in the world.  In fact, U.S. military spending is greater than the military spending of the next 15 countriescombined.
Yes, we will always need a very powerful military, but we can have one without going broke in the process.
But an even larger problem is our rampant spending on social programs.
The following comes from a recent article by Janet Tavakoli....
In 1950 spending for social programs was only one percent of the total Federal Budget. As the economy grew, social programs expanded to include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Unemployment Compensation, Supplemental Security for the Disabled, and educational programs. In 1983 as the United States pulled out of an ugly recession and brought inflation under control, social programs consumed 26% of the budget. In fiscal year 2012, they’ll eat up an estimated 57% of the budget.
Tens of millions of Americans have become absolutely addicted to government money.  Nobody ever wants "their government benefits" to be cut, but nobody ever seems to want to have their taxes raised to pay for them.
To get a really good idea of how government transfer payments have absolutely skyrocketed over the years, just check out this chart.
Obviously, the course that we are on is not anywhere close to sustainable.
To say that the "war on poverty" was a failure would be a huge understatement.
The more money we seem to spend on social programs, the more that poverty seems to grow.
Right now, there are over 45 million Americans on food stamps.  The economy is supposed to be "recovering", but the number of Americans on food stamps has grown by over 8 percent in just the past year.
Food stamps are the modern equivalent of the old-fashioned bread lines.  The federal government is now feeding an almost unbelievable number of Americans.
According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly 15 percent of all Americans are now on food stamps.  That means that approximately one out of every seven Americans is dependent on the federal government for food.
That is not just a crisis - that is a total nightmare.
So what can be done?
Well, we certainly shouldn't let our people starve in the streets.
But handouts should only be a temporary solution.
What these people really need are good jobs.  Unfortunately, our "leaders" have created a business environment in this country that is incredibly toxic, and they have stood by as millions upon millions of good jobs have been shipped out of the country.  That is one of the reasons why I write about the insane trade policies of the globalists over and over and over.  The American people need to understand that globalization is going to mean a continuing loss of jobs for this country and it is going to result in the destruction of the middle class.
If we are not going to provide good jobs for American workers, then we are going to have to pay higher taxes in order to feed them and take care of them.
But what happens when the "safety net" breaks?
Even now, a lot of state and local governments all over the country are flat broke and they are cutting back on assistance for the poor.
The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article about this issue that was posted on the Fiscal Times....
For years, hundreds of thousands of people in dire straits – mentally or physically disabled, homeless and unemployed, ineligible for federal welfare, disability, or food subsidies – could generally count on state or local government largesse for modest handouts of cash to help scrape by. Under the rubric of “General Assistance,” these down-and-out Americans received modest payments – often no more than a few hundred dollars a month – to help defray the cost of necessities including rent, food, clothing, toilet paper, aspirin, phone cards, and bus tickets.
But in the midst of the worst recession of modern times and changing attitudes about the poor, many states have been gradually chipping away at general assistance programs or eliminating them altogether. Only 30 of 50 states currently offer any form of general assistance – down from 38 in 1989. And just this week, Washington State formally ended its “Disability Lifeline” program for an estimated 18,000 to 22,000 economically desperate residents.
Sadly, even more of us may be joining the ranks of the poor soon.  The layoffs just keep on coming.
Normally, most major store closings do not happen until after the holiday season.  You see, the reality is that most troubled retailers tend to want to bring in one more year of holiday sales before they finally shut the doors.  If you announce store closings before the holidays, that is going to make holiday shoppers less likely to shop at those stores.
So that is why some of the recent store closing announcements have been so troubling.
For example, it just came out that all 46 Syms and Filene's Basement storesare closing.
Also, Gap recently announced plans to close 189 stores in the United States.
So if this is what we are already seeing now, what is going to happen after the holidays?
That is a very good question.
So many jobs are being lost all around the nation.  These days, there is massive competition for just about any job that is available.
People are getting desperate.  They just want to be able to pay the bills and take care of their families.
The other day, thousands upon thousands of people lined up to apply for casino jobs in south Florida.  Scenes like this are going to become even more frequent in the years ahead.
So do our politicians have any solutions?
Of course not.
The worst of the Republican candidates are actually at the top of the polls.  The cold, hard truth is that RomneyCain and Perry are all clueless when it comes to the economy.
Of course you might as well call Barack Obama "Captain Clueless" when it comes to the economy.  Obama keeps giving great speeches about jobs while at the same time signing more "free trade" agreements that will send thousands more businesses and millions more jobs out of the country.  Even the CEOs on Obama's jobs creation panel are shipping huge numbers of jobs out of the United States.
Obama gave a speech in Washington D.C. today that exemplified his clueless approach to the economy.  During the speech, Obama made the following statement....
"If Congress tells you they don't have time, they got time to do it. We've been in the House of Representatives, what have you guys been debating? John, you've been debating a commemorative coin for baseball? You have legislation reaffirming that In God We Trust is our motto. That's not putting people back to work. I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work"
First of all, Obama is not putting people back to work.  He has been helping big corporations ship jobs out of the country at a record pace.
Secondly, how does he know what God wants?
A lot of people actually think that the phrase "God helps those who help themselves" is in the Bible.
But it isn't.
A while after the Obama speech, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made matters worse when he told reporters the following....
"I believe the phrase from the Bible is 'The Lord helps those who help themselves"
But once again, there is no such verse in the Bible.
Okay, so quoting a "mystery verse" from the Bible is not that big of a thing at the end of the day, but this is yet another example of how the Obama administration just can't seem to get anything right.
Look, everyone makes mistakes once in a while.  I know that I certainly do.
But when you are wrong about almost everything almost all of the time, that is a major problem.
Especially when you are the president of the United States.
But both political parties are to blame for the mess that we are in.  Budget deficits exploded during Republican administrations just like they have under the Democrats.
Both political parties are responsible for us being 15 trillion dollars in debt.
Both political parties are responsible for 45 million Americans being on food stamps.
Both political parties are responsible for the fact that there are not nearly enough good jobs.
If Barack Obama, Mitt Romney or Rick Perry is elected in 2012, we are just going to have more of the same.
America is running out of time.  If we are going to change course, we need to do it immediately.
The borrower is the servant of the lender.  We are enslaving ourselves and we are enslaving future American generations by going into so much debt.
Shame on the politicians that have rolled up so much debt in our name and shame on us for continuing to send those same politicians back to Washington D.C. time after time after time.

The Economic Collapse

Soaring yields push Italy to the brink

Fabio Muzzi/AFP/Getty Images

The shock wave from Greece’s referendum bombshell rang through European debt markets Wednesday, raising new doubts that the crisis can be stopped.

Italy’s yields approached levels at which its debt burden is thought to become unsustainable and the region’s bailout fund postponed a bond sale, inviting questions over the ability of the eurozone to raise money and finance its rescue plan.

“Prospects for an orderly resolution of Euroland’s crisis have never been bleaker than they are now,” Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, said in a note.

On Wednesday, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, facing pressure to resign, even from the president of Italy, devised plans for quelling market turmoil and his Cabinet passed austerity measures.

Mr. Berlusconi then heded off to Cannes, France, for a meeting of Group of 20 countries.

Yields on Italian 10-year bonds remained in excess of 6.1% Wednesday, while spreads over safe-haven German bonds moderated somewhat after rising to a euro-era high the day before.

Mr. Weinberg said he foresees a target of 8% to 10% yields on Italian debt.

“If it has to pay those yields to finance itself, Italy is dead, and the sovereign crisis just blew up,” he said.

Among the 17 countries that compose the currency bloc, Italy’s output is the third-largest, accounting for 17% of GDP.

With ¤1.6-trillion in outstanding debt, Italy has the eurozone’s largest bond market, and smaller than only those of Japan and the United States.
“Europe can’t afford to have serious default risk expressed in Italian bonds. It simply doesn’t have the wherewithal to protect against that or ringfence it,” said Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed income and currency research at RBC Capital Markets.

But George Papandreou’s referendum gambit exposes precisely that risk. Just a week after the “summit to end all summits,” during which a comprehensive plan to protect Europe’s banks and sovereigns was hammered out, the Greek prime minister threw the region back into crisis and another round of emergency summits.

On Wednesday, Mr. Papandreou was summoned to the French Riviera by the leaders of France and Germany to explain his decision to put Greece’s membership in the monetary union to a national referendum.

“The Greeks must say quickly and without ambiguity whether they choose to keep their place in the eurozone or not,” said French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

The answer to that question won’t come before December. The meantime promises to be filled with uncertainty and volatility, particularly for those sovereigns already on shaky fiscal ground.

The referendum puts on hold the Greek haircut and keeps alive knock-on risks in the European banking sector.

“If the grand master plan goes down, you have to rethink those other support mechanisms that were part of the package that would have helped Italy,” Mr. Chandler said.

If Greece — a country of just 11 million and an economy accounting for just 2.5% of regional GDP — can provide the spark for a debt crisis, Italian insolvency could prove

Syria unrest: Tanks 'open fire' in Homs

It comes a day after authorities in Damascus agreed to an Arab League plan calling on the government to pull the military out of cities.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Baba Amr district of Homs came under heavy fire on Thursday.

Unconfirmed reports say at least three people were killed in the city.

On Wednesday, the Arab League said Syria had agreed to its proposals to end the violence.

The plan requires Syria to withdraw all troops from cities and an immediate cessation to all killing.

Under the plan Damascus also agreed to stop violence against protesters, release all political prisoners and begin a dialogue with the opposition within two weeks.

The Syrian government also agreed to allow journalists, rights groups and Arab League representatives to monitor the situation in the country.

Syrian opposition groups criticised the plan as an attempt by the regime to buy more time.New video

Video footage emerged on Thursday from Homs purporting to show tanks firing in a built-up area on Thursday. The voice of the camera man gives the date and mentions the previous day's agreement with the Arab League.

Protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad started in March but have become increasingly violent.

The government has tried to put down the demonstrations using the security forces and pro-government militia. Opponents of the regime have taken up arms and been joined by soldiers who have defected.

At least 3,000 people have been killed in the unrest in Syria, while hundreds of others have disappeared.

The government of Mr Assad - who took over from his father as president in 2000 - says the violence is being carried out by "armed gangs" and "terrorists".

More than 1,000 security personnel have lost their lives in the fighting, the government says.

Foreign journalists are unable to move around Syria freely and information is tightly controlled, making reports difficult to verify.